may protect people from cardiovascular diseases by lowering
their associated risk factors, a study by researchers at Harvard
University and the Netherlands has suggested, bolstering
evidence for what some already practice in India.
new study, a meta-analysis of 32 earlier studies that had
explored the effects of yoga on cardiovascular and metabolic
health, has found that yoga can lead to reductions in body
weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and heart
researchers also observed through a subgroup of the studies they
analysed that the effects of practising yoga asanas on the risk
factors was as good as the effects of aerobic exercise. Their
findings were published in the European Journal of
Preventive Cardiology . " We can say with confidence that
the evidence for the benefits of yoga is promising," Myriam
Hunink, a clinical epidemiologist at Erasmus University in the
Netherlands who led the meta- analysis " When we quantitatively pool the results from
multiple studies, the power of the results increases — this
increases the confidence in the findings," Hunink said.
specialists in India said the results are not surprising but add
evidence to a reservoir of scientific literature that has
accumulated over the past two decades through studies by several
research groups in India.
study by Hunink and her colleagues found that several risk
factors for cardiovascular diseases improved more in those
practising yoga than in those not practising any exercise, but
yoga had effects comparable to those from exercise.
observed that the practice of yoga asanas on average reduced the
body weight by 2.3kg, blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg, cholesterol by
18 mg/ dl, triglycerides by 29 mg/ dl and heart rate improved by
5.27 beats per minute.
detailed physiological mechanisms to explain the effects remain
unclear. " But the comparable effects of yoga and exercise
tell us that something similar to aerobic exercise also happens
with yoga," Hunink said.
who have studied the physiological effects of yoga believe
mechanisms involve stress reduction. " Yoga acts through
the body and mind management,"